Apparently, the Phillies were not always the rule following guys we have gotten used to/aggravated by:
It was on this date in 1900 that Cincinnati Reds shortstop Tommy Corcoran discovered a metal box a couple of inches below the third-base coaching box at Philadelphia Base Ball Park, later known as the Baker Bowl. Inside the box were electrical wires the Phillies were using to tip off their hitters what pitches were coming.
According to the book The Baseball Hall of Shame: The Best of Blooperstown, backup catcher Morgan Murphy, armed with a spy glass and telegraph set, looked through a peep hole from the home clubhouse and let third-base coach Pearce “What’s the Use” Chiles know what pitch was coming. One buzz from the telegraph was a fastball, two was a curveball, and three was a changeup.
The best part of the story was it appeared to work. The Phillies went 45-23 at home that season and averaged 6.4 runs. On the road, they were just 30-40 and averaged 5.4 runs. Phillies owner John I. Rogers thought the telegraph scheme was fair. The National League disagreed.